Every NBA Team's Trade Deadline Shopping List

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2020

Every NBA Team's Trade Deadline Shopping List

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Not every NBA team will make a move at the trade deadline, but they all have something they'd like to accomplish if the right offer presents itself.

    Teams have both specific targets and a general framework leading up to peak swap season, and we have followed the tea leaves to identify both for all 30 clubs.

    Which contenders are poised to snag an impact piece, and who might those players be? What are this year's biggest sellers hoping to find? Which seemingly marginal moves could be the difference between making the playoffs and heading out for an early fishing trip?

    We'll examine those questions and more with a team-focused primer for the 2019-20 trade season.

Atlanta Hawks

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Trade Targets

    • Andre Drummond
    • Steven Adams
    • Dewayne Dedmon
    • Malik Beasley
    • Mo Bamba

    General Approach

    A sneaky-popular preseason sleeper, the Hawks' wings were clipped shortly after their 3-3 start, and they've been buried in a mountain of losses ever since. Addressing an underwhelming center rotation could go a long way toward getting the flight plans back on track.

    Atlanta has had "serious recent talks" with the Detroit Pistons about Drummond, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Planting him or Adams on the back line might immediately boost the Hawks' atrocious rankings in defensive efficiency (28th) and rebounding percentage (29th). Dedmon, a friend of the franchise, offers a lower-cost, lower-reward alternative.

    Or maybe the Hawks view their place in the standings as evidence they aren't as close to competing as they thought. That, in turn, would put the priority back on acquiring more youth.

    Acquiring Beasley (and planning to pay him in restricted free agency) would give this rebuild more perimeter protection, and if Bamba ever nears his full potential, he'd offer the shooting-and-shot-blocking combo that should fit snugly alongside John Collins.

Boston Celtics

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    Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Andre Drummond
    • Derrick Favors
    • Tristan Thompson
    • Jae Crowder
    • Glenn Robinson III

    General Approach

    With the second-best record in the East and top-10 efficiency marks on offense (seventh) and defense (third), the Shamrocks don't have to make a deal. But if they think this roster can contend for the crown, they should leave nothing to chance.

    In other words, it may not be possible to have both realistic championship hopes and a center rotation consisting of Enes Kanter, Daniel Theis and Robert Williams III. All those options are flawed enough that it might behoove Boston to sacrifice some of its wing depth for a more complete roster.

    The Celtics have "registered interest" in Drummond, per Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill. If Favors can stay healthy, he has difference-making ability on the defensive interior. Thompson doesn't have the most size, but he'd give Boston a presence on the glass and enhance the defense's versatility.

    Acquiring a big-ticket item would require a sacrifice. Earlier this season, ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported the Celtics wouldn't move their "core players," which included Marcus Smart and Gordon Hayward. But there couldn't be a Drummond deal without one, so perhaps there's been a change of heart.

    If not, maybe Boston is best living with its shortcomings at center and bulking up in other places. Grabbing one more three-and-D option would make a great wing rotation even better, and we've already seen evidence that Brad Stevens' system brings the best out of Crowder.

Brooklyn Nets

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    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    Trade Targets

    • Aaron Gordon
    • JJ Redick
    • Robert Covington
    • Wayne Ellington
    • Reggie Bullock

    General Approach

    Brooklyn is playing with house money. With Kevin Durant likely out for the season and Kyrie Irving possibly needing shoulder surgery, the Nets have zero pressure to win now. As such, they should be open to all possibilities at the deadline.

    One option is reshaping the roster in preparation for the smoothest possible start of the Durant-Irving era. While Spencer Dinwiddie has been incredible this season and Caris LeVert has flashed intriguing ability before, maybe those players won't complement the two new scoring stars like a do-it-all defender (Gordon), a three-point sniper (Redick) or a three-and-D swingman (Covington) could.

    If Brooklyn doesn't want such dramatic change, it should keep an eye out for any discount shooters. You can never have too many gunners in Kenny Atkinson's system, and shooting threats could be key in preventing defenses from overcrowding Durant and Irving.

    Finally, the Nets should at least be open to the idea of flipping certain players for picks. If they aren't planning to re-sign Joe Harris, Wilson Chandler or Garrett Temple ($5 million team option for next season), it wouldn't hurt to gauge their going rates.

Charlotte Hornets

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Trade Targets

    • Myles Turner
    • Andrew Wiggins
    • Bogdan Bogdanovic
    • Robert Covington
    • Mo Bamba

    General Approach

    Charlotte's young nucleus has gelled at a rapid rate. In fact, the youthful core four of Devonte' Graham, Terry Rozier, PJ Washington and Miles Bridges has been so electric the Hornets might already be buyers in Year 1 of the post-Kemba Walker rebuild.

    Buying is fine, but Charlotte must identify the right areas in which to splurge. Namely, the front office should target players on the same timeline, especially those who could fill voids as wing scorers or interior anchors.

    Turner would be a dream get—the Indiana Pacers have to admit he doesn't fit with Domantas Sabonis at some point, right?—as most of this frontcourt (including the entire center rotation) will hit free agency this summer or next. He could plug some gaps in Charlotte's 27th-ranked defense, and the space he provides would open driving lanes for the guards and cutting lanes for the wings.

    Wiggins is another fascinating option, provided the Hornets' array of big-money expiring contracts interests the Minnesota Timberwolves. Charlotte would suddenly be overloaded with athleticism along the perimeter, and Wiggins could ease the scoring burden on this budding backcourt. The top pick of the 2014 draft could also qualify as a buzzy acquisition in this type of market.

Chicago Bulls

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    Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Robert Covington
    • Marcus Morris Sr.
    • Davis Bertans
    • Malik Beasley
    • Elfrid Payton

    General Approach

    The Bulls entered this campaign with a paper-thin forward rotation, and then they lost both Otto Porter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison to injury. So, while the medical maladies have exacerbated the issue—as has Thaddeus Young falling problematically short of expectations—this always looked like the roster's soft spot.

    That's a long-winded way of saying Chicago could address the position now and still feel its impact when the group gets back to full strength. Putting Covington or Morris alongside a healthy Porter would give the Bulls two interchangeable forward stoppers. Adding an elite sniper like Bertans would grant Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen more breathing room on offense.

    Chicago could also opt for the younger route in hopes of maybe perking up a run at this playoffs but also fortifying for the future. Grabbing the 23-year-old Beasley as a three-and-D contributor or the 25-year-old Payton as a natural table-setter might help now and down the road.

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    Trade Targets

    • Draft Picks
    • Tyler Johnson
    • Malik Beasley
    • Frank Ntilikina
    • Kris Dunn

    General Approach

    No tea leaves are required to read Kevin Love's desire for a change of scenery. The NBA champion has been a fish out of water since LeBron James' departure necessitated a rebuild in Northeast Ohio, and the 31-year-old is no longer masking his frustrations with the team.

    He's not getting any younger, cheaper ($91.5 million over the next three seasons) or less cantankerous. Even if he's done "acting like a 13-year-old," he still makes zero sense for this roster, and everyone knows it. The time to broker a blockbuster is now, as B/R's Greg Swartz noted:

    "Maximizing Love's value may be a priority for general manager Koby Altman, but he should trade his disgruntled star as soon as possible. One more major injury like last year and Love would become completely untradeable this season, leaving Cleveland with an unhappy $30 million player who's unable to help on the court and has become a distraction off it."

    Can the Cavs get an asset for Love? That's hard to say, but it's possible with a desperate buyer. That makes draft assets and cap flexibility (Johnson is here to represent massive expiring salaries) chief on the wish list. And as long as Cleveland is waving the white flag, why not see if someone puts a pick on the table for Tristan Thompson, too?

    From there, Cleveland should continue to embrace its youth movement. Beasley (who you'll see a lot in this piece) makes sense for a squad light on wing spacers, while Ntilikina and Dunn would both add some missing defense to the backcourt rotation.

Dallas Mavericks

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    Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

    Trade Targets

    • Bogdan Bogdanovic
    • Aaron Gordon
    • Evan Fournier
    • Robert Covington
    • Jae Crowder

    General Approach

    Unless the Mavs feel they are desperate for size—some whispers say they want Andre Drummond; others say they don't—they should focus on finding either another offensive creator or a versatile defender.

    To some, the extra scoring help will seem superfluous. This is, after all, the greatest offense we've ever seen. But an uncomfortable amount of that offensive success rests on the shoulders of Luka Doncic, who's an MVP candidate but also a 20-year-old sophomore. Only Giannis Antetokounmpo and James Harden have higher usage percentages than Doncic's 37.0.

    Having another offensive trigger could make the Mavs even trickier to stop, especially in the postseason when defenses will throw everything they have at Doncic. Bogdanovic, a friend of Doncic, could be a brilliant addition for his shot-creation and shot-making skills. Fournier would scratch similar itches, albeit with less playmaking and better shooting.

    If Dallas doesn't have a problem with Doncic's workload, then the focus should pivot to strengthening its 16th-ranked defense. Any three-and-D option would make sense, but Gordon's versatility and Covington's two-way impact might be massive gets.

Denver Nuggets

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Trade Targets

    General Approach

    The Nuggets are in an enviable position. Since their best players are 24-year-old Nikola Jokic and 22-year-old Jamal Murray, they're in no rush to make a major move. But if the right player becomes available, they're deep enough to consolidate multiple contributors and make a move.

    Some might connect Denver to a name-brand power forward—they usually come up in Kevin Love discussions—but Paul Millsap's two-way abilities are the best fit with Jokic. Instead, Denver should be flooding the New Orleans Pelicans' inbox to get in the Holiday bidding.

    Holiday is an easy fit most places, but it'd be seamless in Denver. He's similar to Gary Harris in some ways, just with a better, more impactful game. Specifically, Holiday's handle and defense cover some of Murray's weaknesses, and the fact he doesn't dominate the ball makes him a suitable sidekick for Jokic.

    This might rock the boat harder than Denver would like, in which case the franchise should search for a high-level complementary piece. Between Iguodala's defense, Redick's blistering three-ball and Covington's switchability on defense, the Nuggets can add at least one impact weapon by semi-splurging on a top role player.

Detroit Pistons

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    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Draft Picks
    • Kyle Kuzma
    • Myles Turner
    • Dennis Smith Jr.
    • Malik Beasley

    General Approach

    Stick a fork in the Pistons, folks. The Motor City's finest are all the way finished.

    Maybe their 13-24 record tipped you off to that fact. If not, just look at where they're standing. Blake Griffin had knee surgery and is out indefinitely. They're (finally) discussing Andre Drummond deals. They haven't had Reggie Jackson since their second contest of the campaign. Even owner Tom Gores, who had been pushing for progress and continuity, has admitted it might be time for a reset.

    "We have to look at everything because we're not winning, so you're not winning, to me, you have to assess everything," Gores told Rod Beard of the Detroit News. "I think anybody would want to do that."

    Assuming Detroit embraces this overdue overhaul, it must prioritize youth and upside. The easiest way to do that is with draft picks, and the Pistons should seek a first for Drummond and whatever clubs would give for the other vets like Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris and Langston Galloway. (A Griffin trade is probably impossible, but if any non-insulting offer comes across the table, they should pounce.)

    The other option is poaching young players from less-patient teams.

    Could Kuzma, a Flint native, find his way back to Michigan? The Los Angeles Lakers are listening to offers, per The Athletic's Sam Amick. Turner would be an interesting anchor of their rebuild, and we've mapped out a three-way deal to get him there. With no long-term answers at this point, the Pistons have little to lose by seeing if they can solve Smith's developmental puzzle.

Golden State Warriors

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Trade Targets

    • Draft Picks
    • Aaron Gordon
    • Robert Covington
    • Markieff Morris
    • Frank Ntilikina

    General Approach

    The Dubs have been destroyed by injuries, which makes this roster nearly impossible to read.

    Ideally, Golden State would've had enough time before the deadline to assess whether Stephen Curry and D'Angelo Russell could co-exist in the same backcourt. Curry's broken hand kept that from happening, which probably means the Warriors won't do anything too drastic with Russell.

    But if they've seen enough to question the viability of keeping him long-term, don't they have to poke around his market? Would Covington and an asset get something done? Could Gordon anchor a deal? Again, it's hard to say how much the Warriors value Russell, but you'd have to think they would welcome another versatile defender.

    If Golden State doesn't want to spend that big on a stopper, Morris could be an option, especially if he signals a willingness to pick up his $3.4 million player option for next season. Ntilikina might be another if the New York Knicks aren't asking for much. The full-strength Dubs should have enough shooting to mask his offensive limitations, and they could use Swiss Army knife skills at the other end.

    Finally, the Warriors can also take this opportunity to replenish some of their draft picks. Basically, they have none coming in and a bunch going out. The right Russell deal might net a couple. If Golden State can turn Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III or Willie Cauley-Stein into draft considerations, it should.

Houston Rockets

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    Noah Graham/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Andre Iguodala
    • Robert Covington
    • Markieff Morris
    • Jae Crowder
    • Davis Bertans

    General Approach

    The Rockets need more defensive resistance on the perimeter. And yes, we did just copy and paste that analysis from every Space City assessment since Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute left town.

    But unless Houston wants to move Clint Capela or P.J. Tucker, its buying power is limited. (While Russell Westbrook trade buzz has started, his steep cost and declining stats might've torpedoed his value.) This could've been a fun Kevin Love landing spot—if you can't fix the defense, try building the world's most potent attack, right?—but big-ticket items are tricky to fit in the budget.

    Still, this is general manager Daryl Morey at the wheel, so the Rockets will give it the old college try.

    They've been prioritizing Iguodala since the summer, per Amick, and with good reason. If they're going to escape the West, they need someone to throw in front of LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard. Iguodala can handle that task as well as anyone.

    Defensive versatility also puts Covington, Crowder and Morris on the radar. And since there's no such thing as having too many shooters in a Mike D'Antoni offense or playing alongside James Harden, it's only fitting for the franchise to chase a marksman like Bertans.

Indiana Pacers

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Trade Targets

    • Jrue Holiday
    • Danilo Gallinari
    • Kyle Kuzma
    • Marcus Morris Sr.
    • Evan Fournier

    General Approach

    We promise there's more to our thought process than getting all three Holidays in the same locker room. (We're not even sure Indy could make a run at Jrue without sacrificing Aaron.)

    The Pacers have fared better than expected without Victor Oladipo, but the need for another scorer and shot-creator is evident—and will be even after he makes it back. Holiday's offense works alongside any star since he isn't ball-dominant but can pilot the attack when needed. The defense, meanwhile, could cover a ton of ground with those two and Malcolm Brogdon racing around the perimeter.

    Another option would be (finally) breaking apart the Turner-Sabonis frontcourt in search of better balance. Having a spacer like Gallinari or Kuzma could give this group more breathing room. Adding Morris would up its toughness and defensive versatility.

Los Angeles Clippers

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    Chris Elise/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Jrue Holiday
    • Markieff Morris
    • Marcus Morris Sr.
    • D.J. Augustin
    • Willie Cauley-Stein

    General Approach

    The Clippers can be as daring as they want to be at the deadline.

    Even after showering the Oklahoma City Thunder with picks in the Paul George trade, L.A. has its own 2020 first-rounder to put in a deal. Tack on a few interesting youngsters—Landry Shamet, Ivica Zubac, Jerome Robinson and Mfiondu Kabengele—and Maurice Harkless' expiring $11.5 million salary, and the Clips might have enough for a(nother) mega-move.

    Imagining Holiday with George and Kawhi Leonard feels unfair. Already a two-way power, the Clippers would somehow become even more ferocious at both ends. This team doesn't have a natural table-setter, so Holiday's shot-creation would fill a void. He'd work defensive magic alongside Patrick Beverley or shift the offense into overdrive when deployed with Lou Williams.

    There might be too many salary hurdles to clear for Holiday, though, so L.A. might opt for a role player who scratches a particular itch: Markieff Morris for interior toughness, Marcus Morris Sr. for defensive versatility, Augustin for distributing and shot-making or Cauley-Stein for length and rim-running.

Los Angeles Lakers

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    John McCoy/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Markieff Morris
    • Jae Crowder
    • Andre Iguodala
    • Marcus Morris Sr.
    • D.J. Augustin

    General Approach

    The Lakers' wish list starts with another versatile defender at one of the forward spots. If LeBron James is going to balance massive scoring and distributing burdens simultaneously, L.A. can't run him ragged on defense.

    But salary-matching isn't simple—only James, Anthony Davis and Danny Green make more than $9 million—so dollar amounts will matter. While Iguodala and Marcus Morris Sr. might be the most natural fits for the roster, Markieff Morris and Crowder could be more appealing given their smaller costs.

    Switching ends of the floor, the Lakers should also focus on finding another quarterback. James can only do so much, and it's doubtful playoff opponents will be overly worried about Rajon Rondo or Alex Caruso.

    "The Lakers need another playmaking guard. Rondo's not what he used to be. The ball sticks with him, and he doesn't defend anymore," an Eastern Conference executive told B/R's Eric Pincus. "They need another point guard to help LeBron."

    The Lakers are a potential landing spot for Darren Collison if the veteran decides he's ready to come out of retirement, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Augustin is one of several veteran point guards on the radar, per Heavy.com's Sean Deveney.

Memphis Grizzlies

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    Brandon Dill/Associated Press

    Trade Targets

    • Draft Picks
    • Kyle Kuzma
    • Malik Beasley
    • Kris Dunn
    • Malik Monk

    General Approach

    The future looks bright on Beale Street.

    Ja Morant might run away with the Rookie of the Year award. Jaren Jackson Jr. continually showcases a drool-worthy combo of modern frontcourt gifts like shooting, shot-blocking and defending in space. Brandon Clarke is proving he had no business slipping to the 21st pick of this past summer's talent grab.

    Still, the cupboards need stocking beyond those three, and the Grizzlies should aggressively pursue rebuilding assets. Between Iguodala, Crowder and Solomon Hill, they have three veteran rentals waiting for a contender to claim them. If the price is right, they could look beyond their expiring salaries and see who else interests deadline shoppers.

    Adding draft picks is a must for Memphis. But if it wants to target NBA talent, it could go that direction, too.

    Kuzma could make a fascinating frontcourt partner for Jackson. A Morant-Dunn backcourt would be a blur, and their strengths and weaknesses might cover for one another. It's also worth a quick call to Charlotte to see if Monk—still just 21 years old—has made it to the discount section yet.

Miami Heat

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Jrue Holiday
    • Derrick Favors
    • Marvin Williams
    • Tristan Thompson
    • Dennis Smith Jr.

    General Approach

    With the Heat already ahead of schedule in the Jimmy Butler era, opportunities abound at the deadline.

    Door No. 1 involves going for broke and seeing if one more high-level addition makes this group a full-fledged contender.

    Holiday would arrive with Erik Spoelstra-approved defensive tenacity, plus the scoring threat to relieve some of the burden on Butler and the South Beach youngsters. The price would be steep, and Holiday's $27.1 million player option for 2021-22 could add an obstacle to any 2021 pursuits. But if the Heat think they're one player away, they should pull the trigger.

    Door No. 2 sees the squad fortifying the frontcourt for the postseason road ahead.

    Favors would add a big body to bang with low-post bruisers or pester opposing penetrators (the Heat allow the second-highest conversion rate in the restricted area). Williams could snag a prominent rotation spot given his experience, shooting and defensive versatility. Thompson would do much of the same, minus the shooting.

    Door No. 3 travels to the first pages of Pat Riley's book on seizing undervalued assets.

    Smith was the No. 9 pick in 2017. Now, he's struggling to hold a rotation spot on a brutal New York Knicks team. That's probably a red flag to most, but in Miami, it's called a clearance sale. If he buys into the player development system, he could still realize the full potential of his explosive physical gifts.

Milwaukee Bucks

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    Trade Targets

    • Chris Paul
    • Bogdan Bogdanovic
    • Robert Covington
    • JJ Redick
    • Davis Bertans

    General Approach

    Normally, a team with an .842 winning percentage and a plus-11.5 net rating would have zero reasons to consider a major shakeup. But considering the stakes of Milwaukee's season—major-market sharks have long been circling in anticipation of Giannis Antetokounmpo's 2021 free agency—the Bucks can't afford to leave anything to chance.

    Do they trust Eric Bledsoe after back-to-back playoff flops? If not, they could give the keys to the Point God. (To anyone slandering Paul's postseason record in the comments, just note he has the eighth-highest career player efficiency rating of all time.) Given his massive contract cost ($41.4 million next season, $44.2 million player option for 2021-22), he shouldn't require much beyond the money-matchers.

    Keeping with this aggressive approach, Milwaukee should scan the market for shot-creators, snipers and shutdown defenders—basically, anything needed for a championship run.

    Remember, the Bucks have the Pacers' 2020 first-rounder and the intriguing Donte DiVincenzo as trade sweeteners. Surely, they'd like to keep both, but they wouldn't mean more to the upcoming playoff run than the scorers, snipers and stoppers listed above.

Minnesota Timberwolves

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    Jordan Johnson/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • D'Angelo Russell
    • Bogdan Bogdanovic
    • Dennis Smith Jr.
    • Monte Morris
    • Buddy Hield

    General Approach

    The Timberwolves have a point guard problem. And, no, turning to Andrew Wiggins—and his career 2.2 assists per game—was not, is not and will never be the answer.

    It's a real issue, and it requires a real solution. Ideally, Russell is said solution. He's close with Karl-Anthony Towns, and the top two picks of the 2015 draft could put opposing defenses in impossible situations. When screen plays involve a pair of three-level scorers, there's no correct way to defend them.

    But if the Warriors move Russell, they might wait until the summer to pull the trigger. The Wolves, then, must be open to other options.

    Bogdanovic isn't a point guard, but his creativity would boost this playmaking-by-committee approach. If the Kings don't think they can afford him in free agency, maybe they act now to get something in return. Or if Sacramento plans to pay him, maybe it would shop a different high-cost player instead—perhaps Hield, who complained about the negotiations prior to his extension and recently touched on "trust issues" within the team.

    For less dramatic moves, Minnesota might see bargain potential in Smith or find a way to lure Morris away from Denver. (The Nuggets can't pay everyone, right?) Those wouldn't be Russell-level pickups, but they'd at least address the position now and into the future.

New Orleans Pelicans

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Draft Picks
    • Kyle Kuzma
    • Bogdan Bogdanovic
    • Gary Harris
    • Malik Beasley

    General Approach

    No one should envy New Orleans right now.

    Sure, the Pelicans might have a potential savior coming in Zion Williamson. But they might be lucky to have weeks worth of data on how this summer's top pick fits with the rest of this roster. That makes this deadline tricky to navigate because blowing up the veteran core could be premature.

    But then again, if the Pels hold a fire sale, they'll have some of the top players available.

    As the list of targets indicates, we're advocates of a demolition. Competing early with Williamson sure sounded appealing (especially after losing Anthony Davis), but the rook won't even turn 20 until this summer. Asking him to guide a playoff push is too much. And even if the Pels try propping up someone else as their leader, all the media and fan attention will still swirl around Williamson.

    This is a chance, then, to bulk up the young core and find more pieces on Williamson's timeline. New Orleans could net multiple firsts by letting go of Holiday, Redick and Favors, or it could access some of the league's up-and-comers. If a Holiday deal goes down, it might want to grab both a first and an emerging talent like Kuzma, Harris or Bogdanovic (who's 27 but only in his third NBA season).

New York Knicks

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    Bart Young/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Draft Picks
    • Monte Morris
    • Malik Monk
    • Zhaire Smith
    • Jerome Robinson

    General Approach

    The Knicks are obvious sellers—well, to everyone but themselves, at least.

    They are one of the worst teams in basketball, and their payroll is overloaded with veterans on expiring deals or with small guarantees beyond this season. Oh, and some of those vets are blocking the paths of prospects, so the sooner they can be cleared out, the better.

    Again, unless you ask the Knicks.

    "The Knicks, despite their record, don't seem intent on starting any fire sale," The Athletic's Mike Vorkunov reported in mid-December. "... The Knicks are believed to be looking to still add assets too, for the short and long-term, if they can."

    This is madness. But these are the Knicks.

    They should shop all their free-agent finds from last summer—especially Marcus Morris Sr. and including Julius Randle—to see what the market will give. It probably won't be much for everyone other than Morris (even he's tricky with a $15 million salary), so New York should look to squeeze out picks where it can and otherwise focus on dented-can prospects like Monk, Smith and Robinson.

Oklahoma City Thunder

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    David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Draft Picks
    • Justise Winslow
    • Eric Bledsoe
    • Mikal Bridges
    • Nassir Little

    General Approach

    While the Thunder have the option of chasing a playoff berth, they can't forget this is still their post-Russell Westbrook, post-Paul George rebuild. Short-term success can provide instant gratification, but it lacks substance when a lot of it is tied to players who won't be around for the long haul.

    OKC has seemingly resigned itself to the fact Chris Paul isn't getting traded. That's a mistake. Even if his money makes him tricky to move, the Thunder should be exploring any and all possibilities. His level of play is high enough that a desperate team still might offer something of value: maybe Winslow or Bledsoe and a pick.

    At the very least, the Thunder can't let this deadline pass without a Danilo Gallinari deal. Virtually every contender covets more shooting and scoring from the frontcourt spots. Since the start of last season, he's averaging 19.2 points and shooting 41.7 percent from distance. They could fetch a good prospect for him, maybe in the Bridges or Little mold.

Orlando Magic

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    Gary Bassing/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • D'Angelo Russell
    • Chris Paul
    • DeMar DeRozan
    • Dennis Smith Jr.
    • Allonzo Trier

    General Approach

    Losing Jonathan Isaac to a knee injury—perhaps for the season, per The Athletic's Josh Robbins—might increase the appeal of selling. But given that Orlando won 42 games last season then spent big on its core over the summer, this franchise probably falls under the label of opportunistic buyer.

    The Magic need more offense. Robbins wrote the franchise's future revolves around Isaac, Markelle Fultz, Mo Bamba and Chuma Okeke. Is there a 20-point scorer anywhere in that group? It's possible, but that seems optimistic.

    Orlando also needs a point guard. There are 38 players averaging five-plus assists; the Magic have none. Oh, and their high man, D.J. Augustin, is one of the Association's most logical trade candidates.

    If they aggressively attack this market, they could chase Russell, Paul or DeRozan to address one (or both) of those voids. If they show more restraint, they should try taking a low-cost flier on a stalled prospect like Smith or Trier.

Philadelphia 76ers

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    Oscar Baldizon/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Davis Bertans
    • Joe Harris
    • Patty Mills
    • Isaiah Thomas
    • Wayne Ellington

    General Approach

    The Sixers have a shooting shortage. And despite their biggest wishes, it seems they'll never get Ben Simmons to embrace the long ball.

    Since Simmons doesn't take them and Joel Embiid misfires on nearly 68 percent of his tries, Philly has to squeeze in as much shooting as it can around its imperfect pairing. Too often, this team's success is determined by whether the supporting cast converts its perimeter looks. The Sixers are 37.7 percent three-point snipers in their wins, but that rate tumbles to 33.7 percent in their defeats.

    Every marksman with a pulse is worth exploring. Bertans and Harris might require real assets to get, but when you're as close to contending as Philly, you can't pinch pennies to address your biggest flaw. Mills and Thomas would scratch several itches for long-range sniping, second-team scoring and backcourt depth.

    Even if Philly can't afford an elite, it should leave no stone unturned. If the best it can buy is Ellington, he alone could be a big lift. He's looked abysmal in New York, but maybe a return to the playoff race—and a homecoming for the Philly native—could get him back on track.

Phoenix Suns

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    Barry Gossage/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Aaron Gordon
    • Danilo Gallinari
    • Kevin Love
    • Dennis Smith Jr.
    • Monte Morris

    General Approach

    Fun fact: The Suns were 7-4 to start the season. Less-fun fact: They've gone 7-18 ever since.

    It's easy to look at Phoenix's 14-22 record as a repeat of the past, but this franchise has made progress.

    Devin Booker is playing the best ball of his career. A nuclear run from three would put him back on course for a 50/40/90 campaign. Kelly Oubre Jr. and Aron Baynes are enjoying their own breakouts. The impacts of Ricky Rubio and head coach Monty Williams can be seen in this team's tenacity and commitment to ball movement.

    So, despite what the standings say, the Suns might be trending up. This feels like the right time to make a splash. Gordon would be a massive get, as the third wheel between Booker and Deandre Ayton should be a devastatingly good defender. Gallinari and Love clearly aren't that, but they would electrify this offense and give Ayton more room to maneuver in the post.

    If Phoenix isn't ready for a huge shake-up, then it should focus on finding a floor general who can back up Rubio now and take the torch from him down the line. Smith still has plenty of upside. Morris offers elite ball control (career 5.7 assists against 1.0 turnovers per 36 minutes) and enough shooting to keep defenses honest.

Portland Trail Blazers

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    Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    General Approach

    The Blazers have been one of this season's biggest disappointments, but that shouldn't change their deadline focus. When you're fully committed to the backcourt of 29-year-old Damian Lillard and 28-year-old CJ McCollum, you're in win-now mode even if you aren't doing a ton of winning.

    For as much mileage as Portland has received from the Carmelo Anthony experiment, the need for a third star/scorer remains. A rangey forward would be the simplest roster fit. Gallinari is the most interesting option on the court. Aldridge and Love also make sense, though, and each would deliver the homecoming narratives us media types get excited about.

    Portland also has the pieces to engineer a super-swap. Between Hassan Whiteside ($27.1 million) and Kent Bazemore ($19.3 million), the Blazers have massive expiring salaries to clean anyone's books. They also own all their first-round picks and roster some highly intriguing prospects (Anfernee Simons, Zach Collins, Nassir Little and Gary Trent Jr.).

    With the Blazers sitting 23rd in defense, they should probably think about improving that end of the floor, too. Their willingness to spend will determine their budget, but they have enough to get into the Covington or Morris sweepstakes if they want.

Sacramento Kings

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Draft Picks
    • Kyle Kuzma
    • Robert Covington
    • Markieff Morris
    • Torrey Craig

    General Approach

    This was supposed to be a leap year for Sacramento, but a playoff push just doesn't seem in the cards. As badly as the Kings want to win, it makes more sense to sell (at least selectively) than to try buying a missing piece.

    Dewayne Dedmon wants out. The Kings should have no bones about letting him go. They might be pleasantly surprised with the return, too. The big-man market might be crowded, but a big portion of it makes more than Dedmon's $13.3 million, even though few match his combination of spacing and rim protection.

    Sacramento should also consider moving Bogdan Bogdanovic—Marc Stein of the New York Times reports they have "tried to engage" the Lakers in Kuzma trade talks—or another high-priced wing. Next season, Buddy Hield will collect $26.4 million while Harrison Barnes takes home $22.2 million. Factor in the future money earmarked for De'Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III, and there probably isn't enough to go around.

    Should the Kings decide to buy, they should chase a defensive-minded forward: Covington if they're willing to spend, Craig if they're not or Morris if they land somewhere in between.

San Antonio Spurs

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    Ronald Cortes/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Draft Picks
    • Myles Turner
    • Aaron Gordon
    • Malik Beasley
    • Mo Bamba

    General Approach

    Get. Younger. Now.

    Ideally, the Silver and Black would've been more green by this point, but instead of seeking a pick-and-prospect-heavy package for Kawhi Leonard, they opted to pay DeMar DeRozan $27.7 million instead. Oof.

    Hopefully, San Antonio has seen enough that it no longer sees the logic in paying an aging roster to play sub-.500 ball. This franchise should already be blowing up communication lines to find new homes for DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay. Draft picks are a must, but San Antonio would really help itself by nabbing a young building block like Turner or Gordon.

    After, the Spurs should shift their sights to undervalued youngsters. If they want to be on the hook for Beasley's next contract, then go get him now. If they think their system could clear Bamba for liftoff, then make whatever move is necessary to pry him out of the Magic Kingdom.

Toronto Raptors

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    Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Andre Drummond
    • Tristan Thompson
    • Marcus Morris Sr.
    • Jae Crowder
    • Draft Picks

    General Approach

    Despite being a two-time All-Star with a historically strong nose for the glass, Andre Drummond isn't the easiest trade chip to move around. Most contenders either don't need him or can't afford him. The Raptors are one of the few exceptions.

    They have massive expiring salaries to make the money work. They have disposable draft picks and enough prospects to sweeten the pot. On the court, they have an obvious need for his board work (19th in rebound percentage), and, as The Ringer's D.J. Foster detailed, they also have the perfect setup for the big fella to thrive:

    "A title contender that actually needs what he provides is ideal for Drummond, as is playing alongside a veteran point guard he has a relationship with ([Kyle] Lowry) in an offense that will use him as a dangerous roller (36.5 percent of Serge Ibaka’s offense comes as the roll man). With live shooters (Toronto is fifth in 3s made and fifth in 3-point percentage) in every spot and meaningful games on tap, Drummond would finally get the chance to star in the supporting role someone with his skill set was always meant to play."

    Oh, and the fact Drummond is probably a rental ($28.8 million player option for 2020-21) wouldn't bother the Raptors a bit. They're probably even bigger fans because of it since that keeps the deck clear for a 2021 run at Giannis.

    A lower-cost, lower-reward alternative to Drummond is Thompson, who happens to be a Toronto native. Other options include bulking up the wing defense or, if this team tailspins for the next month, maybe even selling some of the vets for picks or prospects.

Utah Jazz

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    Rocky Widner/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Davis Bertans
    • Marvin Williams
    • Markieff Morris
    • Dennis Smith Jr.
    • Monte Morris

    General Approach

    The Jazz have seemingly been chasing frontcourt shooting and scoring forever, and that's still the case. Even with Bojan Bogdanovic pushing his per-game points to a career-best 20.9, this frontcourt could pack more oomph.

    Utah has some marksmen, but it could use more high-volume gunners. Despite owning the league's highest three-point percentage, the Jazz are just 20th in three-point attempts.

    Adding a fireballer like Bertans would be incredibly impactful. Slot him with one (or both) of Bogdanovic and Joe Ingles, and the Jazz could stretch out defenses around pick-and-rolls with Donovan Mitchell or Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert. Utah could also opt against a shooting specialist and instead focus on a two-way contributor like Williams or Morris.

    Utah might also want a backup point guard who isn't named Emmanuel Mudiay. There's enough demand at the position that an upgrade could cost more than it's worth to the Jazz. But at the right price, there's room for a minor improvement.

Washington Wizards

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    Ned Dishman/Getty Images

    Trade Targets

    • Draft Picks
    • Kyle Kuzma
    • Derrick Jones Jr.
    • Torrey Craig
    • Zhaire Smith

    General Approach

    Washington's offense-over-everything approach has been pleasantly surprising from an entertainment aspect, but clearly this is not the path to sustainable success. Surely, the Wizards know this, which should make them one of the most willing sellers at the deadline.

    They've said they want to keep Bertans, but he's their ticket to a strong return. He's admittedly been awesome, but 27-year-old specialists shouldn't be kept off-limits. If he could clear a path to a good draft pick or a prospect in the Kuzma range, Washington has to do the deal. Any other vets moved at the deadline should chase the same pick-or-prospect package.

    When Washington does focus on a player, defense is a clear priority.

    The turbo-charged Jones can guard virtually any position, and he'd be an open-court asset speeding alongside Bradley Beal and, when healthy, John Wall. The same may prove true of Smith if he gets the requisite polish. Craig shines with defensive versatility, and he'd be an asset if his shot ever comes around.

                      

    All stats, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball Reference and accurate through games played Jan. 6. Salary information via Basketball Insiders.

    Zach Buckley covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @ZachBuckleyNBA.

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